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Keith Kellett's Blog (54)

The Bicycles of Burano

We’d been to see … or rather, been importunately dragged into … a glass factory on the Venetian island of Murano, to see the glass being made. Certainly, the demonstration was impressive, but we didn’t buy any. It was a bit on the expensive side, and we couldn’t be certain of getting it home in one piece.

 

From there, we went to visit the…

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Added by Keith Kellett on August 24, 2016 at 5:00am — No Comments

Shipwrecked on Australia's Fraser Island

By the time James Cook reached the Queensland coast, he was rapidly running out of crew members to name features after. He’d already got down to the cabin boy, who gave his name to the Carlo Sandblow. So, when he reached what he thought was a great sandy peninsula, he called it, with a lamentable lack of imagination, the Great Sandy Peninsula. Subsequent…

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Added by Keith Kellett on July 24, 2016 at 8:15am — No Comments

Santorini's Nea Kamini Volcano

Most cruise ships sailing the Aegean Sea call at the island Santorini. Although none of the harbours can accommodate larger ships, and they have to anchor, and transfer their passengers ashore by tender, it is nonetheless quite popular.

Santorini owes its crescent shape and steep cliffs to a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in 1450 BC, which left the…

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Added by Keith Kellett on June 22, 2016 at 1:43pm — No Comments

An Airboat Ride in Miami's Everglades

Our cruise only stopped for a short time in Miami, and we believed the best excursion to take was the airboat ride through the Everglades.

 

It wasn’t the only tour on offer. Miami was always a big draw for the rich and famous. There was a city tour which promised…

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Added by Keith Kellett on April 26, 2016 at 1:39pm — No Comments

Lesser Known Islands in Greece's Dodecanese

From Hora, on Patmos, we could see the island of Lipsi on the horizon. It’s called the Island of Churches, because there are 42 churches serving barely 700 souls. That’s one for every 16.6 (recurring) people on the island … although some of them are too small to hold even half that number. All are immaculately kept, all regularly…

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Added by Keith Kellett on March 9, 2016 at 12:34pm — No Comments

England's 'Route 66': the A66 in Cumbria



We often hear about the fabled Route 66 in the United States; the latest offering I’ve seen is the excellent TV series describing comedian Billy Connolly’s ride along it. In England, we also have our ‘Route 66’ … nothing like as long, but maybe one day, someone will make a TV programme about it?



The A66 road over the Pennines is one of England’s main…

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Added by Keith Kellett on February 4, 2016 at 8:09am — No Comments

In Greece, First Catch Your Octopus

With Greek restaurants and tavernas, maybe cats should be awarded instead of “stars”, rosettes, or crossed knife-and-fork symbols when judging their excellence, or otherwise.



At any Greek eatery, at some stage, a cat is sure to join you, although I’m not sure whether the presence of many cats is a good sign or a bad one. Do cats go to where…

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Added by Keith Kellett on January 3, 2016 at 9:09am — No Comments

Walking Crete's Samaria Gorge

We’d been waiting for five minutes for our last passengers."What’s the betting they’re Americans, with white ankle socks and their belongings in carrier bags?" asked Carl, a fellow passenger. Guess what! He was right!



Impatiently, I looked at my watch. Only a quarter to six. And, for the first time, I realised the significance of the date. 6th May…

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Added by Keith Kellett on September 19, 2015 at 7:56pm — No Comments

Cruising Loch Ness

If you only know the name of one British lake, it’ll probably be Loch Ness. It’s one of a chain of lochs making up the Great Glen, a massive fault line separating the north of Scotland from the rest of the country, from Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast.



Sixty miles separate these towns – but, when Thomas Telford dug out the Caledonian Canal joining them, to prevent shipping making the long and hazardous trip around Cape Wrath, he only had to excavate 22…

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Added by Keith Kellett on August 4, 2015 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Allure of Mountain Railways

 

The whole purpose of a railway is to reduce the friction of the wheels, to enable a heavier load to be carried for the same amount of power. That lack of friction works against the train if it has a steep slope to climb or descend. The usual way is to tunnel through the hill, avoiding the slope altogether.

 

This, though, is very expensive, and,…

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Added by Keith Kellett on June 13, 2015 at 7:42am — No Comments

The 'Brown Bars' of the Netherlands & Belgium

 ‘Our ceilings are a fetching shade of old gold as a result of the millions of cigarettes which have been smoked on the premises since they were last painted white, and there is something homely and almost comforting about the smell of stale smoke …’

George East A Year Behind Bars.

 

I’m probably the worst…

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Added by Keith Kellett on February 3, 2015 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness in Bath, England

I had to pick my time carefully to visit the city of Bath. I wanted to go before the bulk of the tourists came, but after the rush of Christmas crowds around the many shops. But, that’s the way it’s always been, for visitors have been coming to Bath since before the Romans came, over 2,000 years ago.

 

Bath is the only place in Britain with natural hot springs.…

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Added by Keith Kellett on November 17, 2014 at 11:24am — No Comments

A Walk in Austria's Tyrol

Whoever built that hut meant it to last. Four-square and stolid, it stood on the mountain, defying anything the elements might throw at it. This was a real chalet, a world away from the tacky ‘shally’ of the holiday camp.

 

It was still used for its rightful purpose, too. From within came a lowing, and the dull ‘tong’ of cattle…

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Added by Keith Kellett on October 19, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Wales' Ruthin Castle Hotel

I wasn’t familiar with the Denbighshire area at all, so when I had business there, I really didn’t know what to expect. But, as I drove over the Welsh border, I’d hardly taken on board that the road signs were now bilingual, than I passed a brown sign saying I was entering an "Area of Natural Beauty".



This is countryside as it…

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Added by Keith Kellett on October 6, 2014 at 12:08pm — No Comments

First Days in Beijing



If you like your personal space, or don’t like crowds, possibly China isn’t really the place for you. The country has so many attractions, some of which are World Heritage Sites, so not only do they attract visitors from all over the world, but the Chinese themselves are extremely…

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Added by Keith Kellett on September 10, 2014 at 1:40pm — No Comments

Himeji Japanese Gardens, Adelaide



In April 1982, Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, became the ‘Sister City’ of Himeji, an ancient city in Japan, now a port and a major industrial centre, most importantly the home of the headquarters of Nissan Steel.

When Colonel William Light laid out the city of Adelaide in 1836, he said that the city centre should be encircled by parkland, upon…

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Added by Keith Kellett on July 31, 2014 at 11:11am — No Comments

Norway's Otofen Railway

We didn’t stay very long in Narvik. No sooner had our cruise ship tied up, than we were on to a bus to the railway station. Our objective was a scenic ride on the Otofen Railway. . It doesn’t seem to receive as much publicity as other scenic routes in Norway, probably because it’s operated by Swedish Railways.

The port and the railway owe their existence…

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Added by Keith Kellett on July 7, 2014 at 4:46pm — No Comments

The Three Faces of Patmos

When our boat sailed into Patmos, we used the harbour at Grykos, rather than the main harbour at Skala. We shared the jetty with the Old Fisherman. The crew of our boat said that he was almost always there, patiently sitting in his little red boat, mending his nets. When he was out fishing, you know he’ll be back, when you see his three friends waiting for…

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Added by Keith Kellett on June 26, 2014 at 3:07pm — No Comments

The King of Piel

A television programme dealing with the some of the thousand-odd islands around the British Isles caught my attention. Brief visits were made to many of my favourite islands, including one to my very favourite, the little-known but fascinating Piel.

Piel lies off the Cumbrian coast, at the mouth of the Walney Channel, near Barrow in Furness. It isn’t a large…

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Added by Keith Kellett on June 20, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments

A Tunisia Desert Safari

I visited Tunisia before the disturbances which resulted in the overthrow of the government. However, I believe the country is now safe for tourists, as several tour companies are now advertising trips there again. I would, however, advise consulting your Foreign Office or equivalent to check the current situation.

If you look at a map, Tozeur seems to…

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Added by Keith Kellett on June 5, 2014 at 2:43pm — No Comments

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